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I've started shopping for a large upright or sub $20k grand (used) and have not had a positive experience with most of the U* uprights and G* grands I've tried. I can only describe the tone as sounding like it's coming from inside a wood box (not much overtones, not singing). The ages of the pianos were all over the map, in different rooms and dealers, and the older ones were definitely worse. I tried different amounts of lid-openness as well. I'm comparing the sound against similarly priced models from Kawai (RX-2), W.Gotrian uprights, etc.

However, the C, CX, and SX models I tried did not have this problem at all. Is this just how those Yamaha uprights and G models sound?

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It really depends on the piano. If not properly voiced, I've noticed some Yamahas that sound super bright and tinny, but again I think that is a voicing issue. I tried a Kawai GS30 that sounded super bright as well, yet a well-voiced one can be very warm and round as many Kawais tend to be in my experience. Here is a G3 that sounds decent, although he does add some reverb in post:


Last edited by Emery Wang; 05/23/22 07:52 PM.

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Thanks. I'm wondering if some of this is the sound while playing versus the sound away from the piano?

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Originally Posted by GregR
Thanks. I'm wondering if some of this is the sound while playing versus the sound away from the piano?
One mic is about a foot above the hammers. Who knows if there are ambient mics, and there is definitely post recording processing.

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I am a fan of Yamaha pianos but I played a lot of crummy-sounding ones during my search. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with Yamaha or “the Yamaha sound.”

Greg, you’re talking about used U and G Yamahas that you’ve played? If they’re used, they probably need some attention they’re not getting. A lot of people don’t realize that there’s more to piano maintenance than just tuning.

What you’re seeing (hearing) might even be something weird like a correlation between C-owners, having paid more at the outset, taking better care of their pianos than G-owners.

What you don’t know is how those pianos would sound after some good TLC, but if you don’t like the sound to start with, it’s not worth the risk.


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Not everyone likes a particular model or brand, and that's sort of the beauty of having choices in the market. With your budget, the interesting and not-often-mentioned (in the US) world of new and recently-made used, high-end vertical pianos from Europe, Japan, and the US is available to you. And there will be somewhat more pedestrian offerings available in the grand piano side of things, but you will again have some options, also.

I've played some really nice, new U series uprights. And of course their upper-level YUS ones, but they're expensive. The GB/GC series grands aren't really special to me, but I am admittedly a piano snob. And I haven't spent much time at all, playing a GC2.


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I am not a fan of Yamaha sound. I have played extensively a U1 (boxy) and a C5 (super duper bright and somewhat thin). Keyboard is excellent but I just don't like the timbre. With that money I would look somewhere else, possibly a gently used German grand . .

As far as I know only jazz people, nothing against them, like the Yamaha sound . ..

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As far as I know only jazz people, nothing against them, like the Yamaha sound

This is an inaccurate statement. A lot of people like the Yamaha sound, this cuts across a variety of genres, including classical.


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
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As far as I know only jazz people, nothing against them, like the Yamaha sound

This is an inaccurate statement. A lot of people like the Yamaha sound, this cuts across a variety of genres, including classical.

I agree with ShiroKuro. We rent a CFX (Yamaha's concert grand) to classical performances all the time - at least a couple times each month. We also sell a great number of Yamaha pianos to classical musicians and to Universites who teach classical musicians.

Originally Posted by marklings
I have played extensively a U1 (boxy) and a C5 (super duper bright and somewhat thin).

While I do not deny your experience marklings, please listen to this video we made just a few months ago of the Yamaha C5x. I don't think anyone would call the tone bright and thin:




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Richter became a Yamaha artist towards the end of his career (and he's about as heavy as they come in the world of Classical pianists). I figure the CF series is probably right up there with the best pianos when it comes to playing Classical. But I think you can still hear some extra, signature Yamaha brightness in the tone, compared to something from, for example Bechstein, Steinway, or Bosendorfer.


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When I was weighing up whether to buy my S7X, I played Fazioli and Steinway and did not really feel they were "better", but obviously different. The only pianos that were clearly nicer in some ways were the Bosendorfers, though with the downside that they were less powerful.

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My strong suspicion is that for classical concerts Yamaha is the second most popular piano of choice. So it's certainly not true that Yamaha is only suitable for jazz. I have heard the CFX many times at the Mannes International Keyboard Festival, and I think it's an incredible piano.

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Originally Posted by GregR
However, the C, CX, and SX models I tried did not have this problem at all. Is this just how those Yamaha uprights and G models sound?

We all like different things and I have a Kawai now - but try to play a Yamaha SE132 upright which (at least the one we considered) had a different and lovely tone which stood up to pretty much anything.

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You have been looking at used pianos that have had varying amounts of care during their service life. What you have learned is that you need to remember that it takes service to keep a piano sounding nice, which is why I say that finding a good technician is often more important and more difficult than finding a good piano. Without a good sculptor, a block of marble is just a slab of rock. Without a good technician, a piano is just a box with levers that makes noise.


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Rich, please explain what is V3? version 3?
so how it is different from the previous C5X?

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Originally Posted by tirta
Rich, please explain what is V3? version 3?
so how it is different from the previous C5X?

I am so sorry. This is the third version of the VIDEO! (I should probably change that). In other words, it is the third draft of the video edit.

V3 has nothing to do with the C5x at all. Again, sorry to confuse anybody.


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Originally Posted by marklings
I am not a fan of Yamaha sound. I have played extensively a U1 (boxy) and a C5 (super duper bright and somewhat thin). Keyboard is excellent but I just don't like the timbre. With that money I would look somewhere else, possibly a gently used German grand . .
As far as I know only jazz people, nothing against them, like the Yamaha sound . ..

yamaha instruments have a bunch of different sounds - depending on model, tuning/configuration etc. When lots of professionals (and some big time professionals) like yamaha, then it just becomes a case of their word against your word. Also, a lot people out there - in general - like yamaha sounds.

Also --- for the OP -- the 'try before buy' is a nice idea. Also taking into account that pianos can be tuned and configured/re-configured) - and how it sounds can depend on the surroundings and own ears and preferences etc.

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If the piano sounds a certain 'way' at the store - then one option is to also ask the professionals at the store if they are noticing what you notice. And then the professionals at the store will most likely mention a few things - such as options for reconfiguration, or their opinion about it. When there are people out there that say that yamaha instruments of various sorts sounds very nice to them, then it means that a significant number of people like yamaha sounds (of various sorts of their instruments) - so it can be a preference aspect, which can also involving configuration/tuning/setup.

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Steinway and Yamaha are also louder, overall (for their size)...and most venues will avoid miking a piano if they can.


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Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Steinway and Yamaha are also louder, overall (for their size)...and most venues will avoid miking a piano if they can.
I've never heard anyone claim that unless you're thinking of the Steinway D, and it certainly does not match my experience with those makers for their non concert models.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/25/22 06:54 PM.
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